1954 Kaiser Darrin

Sale Price
22 October 2022
Sold Date
Lot Number
Older restoration
Auction House
Chassis no. 161001088. Light metallic green over light green leather. 161/90hp Willys six, 3-speed with overdrive, wheel covers BFG Silvertown whitewalls.

Evaluation: Represented as the 88th of 435 built. Not much history represented but restored at some point. The paint looks good from a distance but shows prep issues up close like a few small bubbles and particles in the finish all cover. The body sides look a bit lumpy, while the chrome and brightwork are aged. The windshield is also painted an incorrect black, and there are holes drilled in the frame where a mirror should be. The interior shows light age, and the gauges look original.

An oddball American sports car that slightly predated the Corvette but today is remembered by few. While this one is less than perfect, it’s inherently interesting.

Bottom Line: The Kaiser Darrin has never been renowned for its performance or its styling, but it is famous for its “pocket doors” that slide forward behind the front fenders. Neither the doors nor the rest of the car caught on, but they’re relatively collectible as an early and distinctive piece of American sports car history. Quality restorations or examples with desirable period performance upgrades are six-figure cars, but the 80K range for this one is about right. It could have brought more without being particularly expensive, but this wasn’t a steal.

by Andrew Newton
29 October 2022
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Condition definitions
Condition #1: Concours
Condition #1 vehicles are the best in the world. The visual image is of the best vehicle, in the right colors, driving onto the lawn at the finest concours. Perfectly clean, the vehicle has been groomed down to the tire treads. Painted and chromed surfaces are mirror-like. Dust and dirt are banned, and materials used are correct and superbly fitted. The one word description for #1 vehicles is “concours.“
Condition #2: Excellent
#2 vehicles could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 vehicles that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws, but will be able to find some not seen by the general public. The paint, chrome, glass and finishes will all appear as excellent. No excessive smoke will be seen on startup, no unusual noises will emanate from the engine. The vehicle will drive as a new vehicle of its era would. The one word description for #2 vehicles is “excellent.“
Condition #3: Good
#3 vehicles could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 vehicle, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior where applicable. #3 vehicles drive and run well, but might have some incorrect parts. These vehicles are not used for daily transportation but are ready for a long tour without excuses, and the casual passerby will not find any visual flaws. “Good” is the one word description of a #3 vehicle.
Condition #4: Fair
#4 vehicles are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped. Paintwork is imperfect, and perhaps the body has a minor dent. Split seams or a cracked dash, where applicable, might be present. No major parts are missing, but the wheels could differ from the originals, or other non- stock additions might be present. A #4 vehicle can also be a deteriorated restoration. “Fair” is the one word that describes a #4 vehicle.
Condition #5: Poor
Running, but battered, incomplete, and perhaps rusty.
Condition #6: Parts car
Parts car.
Hagerty only assigns condition ratings to vehicles we can inspect in person or, for online listings, via high-quality photography.